By Otis Kirk
Arkansas coach Chad Morris held a National Siging Day Press Conference on Wednesday after signing four new recruits.
The Hogs added Mansfield (Texas) Legacy safety Jalen Catalon, Pulaski Academy tight end Hudson Henry, Warren wide receiver Treylon Burks and Phenix City (Ala.) Central running back A’Montae Spivey.
Here’s three highlights of what Morris said.
Catalon chose Arkansas over Texas, TCU and Oklahoma. Morris put in some lofty company of Deshaun Watson and Vince Young, two quarterbacks he saw play in high school.
“One of the top high school football players I think I’ve never seen, top five for sure,” Morris said. “Fantastic player, played safety and can play a lot of different positions. I’ve been watching high school football for a very long time and recruiting for a very long time and this young man is one of the best that I’ve seen. Can play a lot of positions.”
Morris was asked again after that about Catalon and continued the praise.
“As I mentioned earlier, and I’ve seen a lot of high school ball,” Morris said. “And I’ve said this over and over about him and watching him as a – we were the first to offer him at our time at SMU. Just knowing him and the program he plays in and the level of competition he has to play at. He would play safety, play quarterback, played both ways. He’s one of the top five best HS players that I’ve seen play.
“So I think his potential and his upside is phenomenal. It’s unfortunate he suffered an injury this year in the first game. Because I think the outcome for their season would have been different because I think he’s that big of an impact player. And not only just that I think that. But when you travel around and knowing the coaches that I know in that state and to listen to them talk about him as a person and a player – phenomenal. But when you meet his parents, you understand that. You just understand.”
Both Catalon and Burks are coming off ACL injuries and surgeries. Morris talked about how their rehab is coming along.
“They’re both well ahead of schedule,” Morris said. “We anticipate those guys being back and ready to go when they get here in June, full throttle and ready. They’ll come up and go through evaluations in front of our team doctors, but our doctors will be in touch with their’s and making sure that everybody’s on the right page. So,we anticipate those guys being ready to go for sure for fall camp and summer workouts.”
Three Scholarships Remaining
The Hogs have 29 scholarships to work with in the Class of 2019, but at this point have used 26 of them. Morris was asked would he use the other three soon or wait?
“That is really hard to say right now,” Morris said. “We could, but we’re not gonna get in a hurry just to fill spots. That’s the one thing I’ve found in this business you can get yourself in trouble in. If we find the right fit for us we will fill it, but if we don’t then that’s OK.”
Could another quarterback still be in the mix for 2019?
“Well, we’re always in the quarterback market,” Morris said. “I’ve said that. I’ll continue to say that. You can never have enough of those guys. Got to have competition there.
“We do have, I want to say our number right now is at three spots. You never know. We’ll see as the spring unfolds, how things go. We’ll go through and find some needs that we have. We’re always looking. As you said, we always talk about quarterback. We’re looking whether it be linebacker, corner, you’re always trying to improve in an area you can. But we do have some spots. That’s a good thing.”
Replacing John Scott
John Scott left for South Carolina. He coached at Arkansas for two years and had the defensive tackles for Morris in 2018. He coached the entire defensive line for Bret Bielema in 2017.
Will Morris replace him with a defensive tackles coach or possibly a special team’s coordinator?
“There is a possibility of that, or a special teams coordinator that will coach a position as well,” Morris said. “There’s different options there, we hope to have a replacement definitely before the start of spring ball. Obviously we’d like to have something in there in the next few days if we could.”